Topeka As part of its coverage of the 2010 Kansas governor’s race, the Lawrence Journal-World asked candidates Tom Holland, a Democrat, and Sam Brownback, a Republican, to answer how they will handle the loss of federal stimulus funding in the next fiscal year’s budget. Brownback, currently a U.S. senator, and Holland, currently a state senator from Baldwin City, face off in the November general election. Here are their complete responses.
Statement from Sam Brownback:
“The challenges that we face in Kansas—and indeed in America—are not only very significant, they are of a depth and duration we have not seen for some time. Meeting those challenges will take effort, intensity, and purpose.
“Our state lost more than 50,000 private sector jobs last year while adding government ones. That trend must be reversed. The first priority of a Brownback Administration will be restoring economic growth in Kansas by creating a business environment that the private sector can flourish in and create jobs that provide a meaningful increase in income and opportunity for Kansas families. When we meet with our cabinet, the first question will be, “what are we doing today to help grow jobs in our state?”
“During our time in office, we will work in full partnership with the Kansas Legislature to create policies and initiatives that have a hard focus on our areas of concentration that will drive the results of our Kansas Report Card: Growing the Kansas Economy, Excelling in Education, Reforming State Government, and Protecting Kansas Families.
“The following actions will be our administration’s top priorities to Grow the Kansas Economy:
· Implement the Strategic Economic Development Plan.
· Pursue new economic opportunities. We will involve ourselves personally in keeping our local businesses vibrant and in attracting new businesses to the State.
· Reform the tax code. Capital and jobs flee to states with low overall tax rates and the right mix of taxes.
· Create Rural Free Enterprise Zones. These zones would be an effort to provide rural areas with declining populations an opportunity to find the right tax and economic development resource mix to help kick start growth in their regions.
· Explore new opportunities for expanding our agriculture exports, particularly with an eye toward animal agriculture.
· Support the competitiveness and growth of the aviation manufacturing sector in Kansas. We will work to ensure that Kansas remains the premier location for the design and manufacture of general and business aviation aircraft, military trainer aircraft, large commercial aerostructures as well as the modification and maintenance of military aircraft.
· Promote energy development and growth in wind power and ethanol. We will work to promote responsible energy development from every available source of energy, including traditional sources such as oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear.
· Work with the private sector to expand of the state’s broadband network.
· Expand the military-intellectual complex around Fort Leavenworth and the Command and General Staff College.
· Work to expand access to affordable health insurance options for businesses and individuals.
· Maintain our nationally recognized highways by implementing T-WORKS and looking for new opportunities in intermodal transportation development.
“While we won’t have accurate data for the next governor’s budget until November when the next Consensus Revenue Estimate Report is released, it’s no secret that government spending in 2012 is projected to be hundreds of millions of dollars more than expected revenues. Upon taking office we will immediately institute a state general fund spending freeze and review revenue and spending estimates to take necessary steps to produce a balanced budget. We also will make use of Executive Reorganization Orders to make state government’s functions and structure better reflect the needs of Kansans.
“Should balancing the budget require a spending reduction, there will be no easy choices. We will protect state government’s core functions like education, social services and public safety by focusing cuts on lower priority programs. It's worth noting that during the past two budget cycles, no requirements in the Kansas budget have been eliminated outright. State government needs to do fewer things and do them better.
“Kansans can learn more about our detailed plan at www.Brownback.com.”
Statement from the campaign of Tom Holland and lieutenant governor running mate Kelly Kultala, a state senator from Kansas City, Kan.:
“Tom and Kelly were proud to have worked in a bipartisan fashion with a majority of Republicans in the State Senate to pass a multi-year revenue package to balance the budget. With the budget balanced, a multi-year plan in place and new transportation projects about to begin, we expect Fiscal Year 2012 to be very manageable. Because of the bipartisan work accomplished this past session, drastic cuts to schools, public safety and services for our most vulnerable will not be necessary.”